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Environment & Climate Change

Judge stops Trump rules that did away with penalizing companies that kill birds

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Lester Graham
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The Migratory Bird Treaty Act has protected birds such as this osprey since 1918. Trump administration rules gutted it.

A Trump administration rule change to the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act dropped fines for industries killing birds unless the deaths were intentionally caused.

Conservation groups such as the National Audubon Society sued to stop the rules.

“We were part of a collection, a chorus of conservation groups that really raised hell and spoke up to the federal government anywhere we could, as loud, as broadly as we could,” said Heather Good, Executive Director of Michigan Audubon.

The Trump rules meant companies responsible for oil spills or other human-caused disasters would not be penalized for killing birds.

“And essentially remove any ability to remediate, to assist with wildlife, to clean up the mess and repair any damage to bird populations,” Good explained.

A recent federal judge’s decision put a halt to that.

“This is a win for birds, which is very rare to come by this kind of news,” Good said.

Climate change and habitat loss already are hurting many different kinds of bird populations.

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